Defendant: Food Poisoning Was Easy Under Loose Security

MAEBASHI, Japan (Kyodo) -- A man who was indicted earlier this year for lacing frozen food products with pesticide at a factory in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, says he had no trouble doing so because of loose security.

"I was able to move back and forth between production lines, and it was easy for me to put pesticide into those products," Toshiki Abe, 49, said in a recent interview with Kyodo News in a police cell.

The food poisoning affected thousands of consumers in Japan.

Abe, a contract worker at the factory operated by Aqlifoods Co., revealed that he wanted to take revenge on the company since he was unhappy with his wage and the way he had been treated by his boss.

Aqlifoods is a subsidiary of seafood company Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc.

"I used to go to another production line during break to snitch food," Abe said. "Anybody who had been working there for a long time could move between production lines without causing any suspicion."

According to the indictment, Abe sprayed pesticide on 22 kinds of products such as frozen pizza from Oct. 3 to around Nov. 5, 2013.

His attorney has said Abe kept malathion in a perfume bottle and brought it to his workplace by hiding it in places such as a sock, adding that Abe has denied lacing products with the pesticide after Oct. 24.

"I wanted to get revenge," said Abe. "I was going to leave the company when someone caught me doing it, but I just didn't expect them (the products) to get to consumers."

Abe said he felt bad about the 66 people who had to quit after the factory stopped operations in January after the incident came to light.

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